Most people buy leather products, but they don't understand the difference between PU (polyurethane) leather and genuine leather.
Basically, PU leather is made using synthetic plastic material with the same feel as natural leather but contains zero animal products.
Due to the artificial nature of PU leather, there have been concerns about its longevity and its ability to maintain an attractive appearance. There is always a choice to just buy a new one.
However, I think that if it is something you don't want to replace yet, it can't hurt to try and fix it.
Does PU Leather Peel Easily?
The short answer is yes, PU leather peels off easily. Because it's not genuine leather, PU leather, also known as bi-cast PVC or faux leather, is a more affordable alternative to animal leather.
You'll find the same material in office chairs, vehicles' interior upholstery, and clothing, such as leather jackets.
Its manufacturing process involves using recycled layers of leather bonded together before being attached to a polyurethane (PU) surface.
Therefore, synthetic leather isn't something as strong and elastic as real leather, and when you stretch it too much, the PU overlay begins to peel off easily.
Some materials start to show signs of degradation after a few months of use if not properly cared for.
It's important that you care for your faux leather product so they don't become damaged or prematurely worn out due to heavy usage or improper storage conditions such as extremely cold temperature fluctuations during the winter months.
Luckily, Singapore and South-East Asia do not have winter months.
How Do You Protect PU Leather?
Faux leather does not share the same durability and quality as natural leather. Hence, it is critical to maintaining PU leather to ensure it stays moisturized for improved durability.
Many oils can be used for this purpose but Strange as it may sound but baby oil creates a protective coating that prevents the leather from peeling and flakes.
Below are essential tips for proper PU leather care:
● Store PU leather product or furniture away from window light source (heat)
● Keep PU leather product or furniture dry at all times by using an air conditioner and dehumidifier if necessary.
● Clean every day with water mixed with mild soap - avoid harsh chemicals which may cause damage to the PU leather.
● Avoid using harsh, abrasive cleaners on your PU leather product or furniture as this will cause premature wear and tear of the surface material.
● Use a dry cloth or paper towel after cleaning the area- don't rub too hard!
● Dust every day with a light-colored soft dusting brush for best results (avoid coarse brushes which may leave scratch marks on PU).
● Maintain good hygiene by always keeping hands clean prior to handling any PU leather products or furniture that come into contact with food or drinks.
Avoid Stains and Spills
New PU leather is waterproof, but its moisture-resistance level peters out as the material ages.
But spills and stains are inevitable; when that happens, you need to act fast to ensure that leather doesn't stain or become cracked.
Therefore, avoid situations that might introduce water, stains, or spills to the area. For instance, avoid sitting or leaning on your leather product or furniture with clammy or damp clothes.
Clean PU Leather Using a Soft, Damp Cloth
The secret to proper synthetic leather maintenance is to clean it using a soft, non-abrasive, and slightly damp cloth.
Note that the cloth/towel must be slightly damp and not wet. Using too much of the protective chemicals leaves traces of the chemical on the leather surface. It then dries out and damages the area and leather.
For proper maintenance, clean the leather area at least once a week.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Whether in the workplace or home office, people tend to place their leather chairs near the window to maximize natural light.
As you do that, remember direct sunlight is a leather enemy and will cause it dry and flake off.
It would be best to place your PU leather products or furniture in a shaded spot for extended longevity.
Avoid Color/Dye Transference
The chances are that you've seen various color restoration techniques for different clothing.
For instance, some people heavily dye their jeans, leaving excess color on the fabric's surface.
When you sit on a PU leather couch, you can easily transfer the color to the leather, causing it to stain.
Once you notice that, cleaning it immediately prevents the colors from sticking to the leather.
How Do You Prevent, fix or repair a Peeling Faux Leather?
Some peeling problems may be caused by humidity or volatile material in your homes such as acetone-based cleaners and nail polish remover used nearby (aceton is not good for any type of furniture as well as leather couch).
So if your PU leather product has been treated with these types of cleaners recently then it will affect the area and the leather.
we will be focusing more on preventing than a repair job in the article.
Permanent Marker and Shoe Polish
If you prefer this technique fix, you need 180-grit sandpaper, permanent market, and shoe polish. You can purchase the sandpaper at any hardware store.
Using the sandpaper, sand the faux leather to remove the peeling sections; ensure you sand following a motion in circles while applying slight low pressure not to ruin the fabric.
Next, find a permanent marker that has the correct color match of the leather. Shade the exposed sections of the surface until it achieves the perfect shade and color. That conceals the flaked parts, making it look as though the entire surface is evenly colored.
Afterward, apply some shoe polish to the sanded and colored areas. Use long and even stroked when polishing the surface, so the polish spreads evenly for color uniformity.
Use Leather Paint
Leather paint is an excellent means of refreshing your PU-leather product's appearance. Before you start, ensure you remove any flaking sections using your hands.
Select a paint that matches the leather color, and apply it to the surface using a paintbrush. When using leather paint, you need to use horizontal, long strokes to cover the area perfectly. Let it dry for about 30 minutes. You may need to add more paint layers to prevent a recessed look and achieve a smooth texture.
When you are 100% sure that the repair compound has dried out and you are satisfied with the paint coat, seal it with colorless, high-gloss paint. Use the same stroking technique to fix and cover the repaired patches.
You can apply the sealant on the entire surface to prevent other sections from flaking off in the future.
Use Soft Filler to Fix
For the best repair results, use soft filler, a flexible compound that creates a new leather surface for improved appearance.
Once you remove the leather's flaking sections, the following steps are to take about inch-thick soft filler with a putty knife and smear it on the flaked areas, ensuring you don't apply it to unpeeled sections.
If you don't have a putty knife, you can use an index card or business card also. Once you're done, let the Filler Cure for about 20 minutes for it to bond well with the leather. Depending on the outcome, you might want to add another coat.
Finish it off by applying leather paint and a sealant to help your old PU leather look as good as new.
Use Leather Conditioner
You're going to need some type of conditioner in your repair kit that will penetrate into the surface of the PU leather without leaving residue on its exterior (which is what happens when we use furniture polish).
The best option would be "Leather Lotion." It's made specifically for this purpose and also contains waxes that help restore shine while protecting against future damage from UV exposure.
If you decided to try our chairs, we highly recommend getting the bundle with APOL Fabric Cleaner.
APOL Fabric Cleaner Features:
No dirt or odors on your chair with our Fabric & Leather Cleaner that helps to eliminate and helps to moisturize and protect the chair with a layer of protection.
You can contact our support team on this page using the chat widget for more help, questions and answers regarding our chairs and accessories usage.
If you are a vegan or simply concerned about animal welfare, then PU leather is an ideal product for you. Although you might have to deal with the inevitable peeling, you can always adhere to the above guide to ensure your PU/faux leather maintains a shiny and aesthetic appeal and does not flake easily.